U.S. Route 212 in Minnesota

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U.S. Highway 212 marker

U.S. Highway 212
U.S. 212 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by MnDOT
Length 161.787 mi[1] (260.371 km)
Existed 1926 – present
Major junctions
West end US 212 at South Dakota state line
  US 59 at Montevideo
MN 23 / MN 67 at Granite Falls
US 71 at Olivia
MN 22 at Glencoe
MN 5 at Norwood Young America
MN 41 at Chaska
I-494 / MN 5 at Eden Prairie
East end US 169 / MN 62 at Edina
Counties Lac Qui Parle, Chippewa,
Yellow Medicine, Renville, McLeod, Carver, Hennepin
Highway system
  • Minnesota Trunk Highways
MN 210 MN 217

Within the U.S. state of Minnesota, U.S. Highway 212 (U.S. 212) travels from the South Dakota state line in the west, crossing the southwestern part of the state, to the Minneapolis – Saint Paul metropolitan area in the east, ending at its interchange with U.S. 169 and State Highway 62 in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina. U.S. 212 in Minnesota has an official length of 161.8 miles (260.4 km). It is an urban freeway within the Minneapolis – Saint Paul area, and is mostly a two-lane rural road elsewhere in the state.

Prior to the establishment of the U.S. Highway system, most of the U.S. 212 corridor in Minnesota was part the transcontinental auto trail known as the Yellowstone Trail, which was established in 1917. U.S. 212 was established in 1926 but originally terminated at U.S. Highway 12 in the city of Willmar from 1926 to 1934. U.S. 212 was shifted to its current alignment around 1934, continuing slightly east of its current terminus to end at then U.S. 12 in Saint Paul until 1982, when U.S. 212 was truncated to Edina. In 2008, the Twin Cities portion of U.S. 212 was relocated to a new freeway (formerly designated as State Highway 312 from 2003 to 2008).

Route description[edit]

U.S. Highway 212 in Minnesota passes through seven counties in the southern part of the state, from the South Dakota state line to the Twin Cities area. It runs in straight east–west course from the South Dakota line across prairie land to the city of Montevideo. From there the route follows the valley of the Minnesota River to Granite Falls. It then leaves the Minnesota River valley to pass through farming areas until Glencoe, where the terrain gradually becomes more hilly as the road continues east.[2][3] As the route approaches the Twin Cities, the road becomes a freeway running parallel to, but not within, the Minnesota River valley. U.S. 212 ends at the junction of U.S. 169 and State Highway 62 in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina.[4]

The entire length of U.S. Highway 212 in Minnesota is officially designated the Minnesota Veterans Memorial Highway.[5]

Legally, the Minnesota section of U.S. 212 is defined as Legislative Routes 155, 12, 187, and 260 in the Minnesota Statutes.[6][7] The route is not marked with those numbers.

South Dakota to Granite Falls[edit]

U.S. 212 crosses into Minnesota from South Dakota, traveling through flat, open terrain. About 12 miles (19 km) from the state line, it intersects with U.S. Highway 75, then enters the small city of Dawson several miles later. U.S. 212 continues past Dawson through more fertile prairie land, eventually being joined by U.S. Highway 59. The overlapped routes pass by the entrance to Camp Release State Park, a 14-acre (57,000 m2) park where the former Sioux village of Chief Red Iron was located, and which also contains a 51-foot (16 m) granite monument commemorating the release of 269 prisoners from Sioux captivity. U.S. 212 and 59 split in the western edge of the city of Montevideo in the valley of the Minnesota River, with U.S. 59 heading northwest and U.S. 212 heading southeast. U.S. 212 follows the Minnesota valley for about thirteen miles (21 km) to the city of Granite Falls. In the center of the city, State Highway 23 joins U.S. 212 briefly as they cross the Minnesota River, with the two routes splitting soon after leaving the eastern city limits. The city of Granite Falls is known as being the hometown of Andrew Volstead, who authored the National Prohibition Act.[2][8]

Granite Falls to Glencoe[edit]

East of Granite Falls, U.S. 212 leaves the Minnesota River valley, heading due east across a variety of farming areas in the south central portion of the state. For the next 28 miles (45 km), U.S. 212 passes through a series of small cities in this area: Sacred Heart, Renville, Danube, and Olivia. In Olivia, the county seat of Renville County, U.S. 212 meets with U.S. Highway 71. U.S. 212 continues due east through more farmland, again passing through a series of small cities that developed along the route. Through the next 30 miles (48 km) of the road, U.S. 212 goes through Bird Island, Hector (intersecting with State Highway 4), Buffalo Lake, Stewart and Brownton (intersecting with State Highway 15). Brownton, which is located on Buffalo Creek, is the site of the Sioux Uprising, one of the earliest massacres of white settlers in the region. Several miles later, U.S. 212 is joined by State Highway 22, U.S. 212 becomes a four-lane divided highway heading east into the city of Glencoe closely following Buffalo Creek. Highway 22 splits off to the north in downtown Glencoe, while U.S. 212 heads east out of the city.[2][4][9]

Glencoe to the Twin Cities area[edit]

East of Glencoe, the terrain becomes progressively more hilly as U.S. 212 continues eastward. U.S. 212 is joined by State Highway 5 and State Highway 25 about eight miles (13 km) after leaving Glencoe. The three overlapped routes continue east into the city of Norwood Young America for about two miles (3.2 km), after which Highways 5 and 25 split off to the north in the center of the city. After leaving Norwood Young America, U.S. 212 becomes a two-lane road, passing by several lakes, then continues east for several miles to the city of Cologne, then into the community of Dahlgren. East of Dahlgren, U.S. 212 becomes a freeway as it heads into the Twin Cities area. The freeway runs along the northwest upland of the Minnesota River valley.[10]

After the first interchange on the freeway with Jonathan Carver Parkway, U.S. 212 enters the city limits of Chaska. The road then curves to the north, crossing over Chaska Creek and interchanging with Engler Boulevard, before turning northeastward. The freeway meets with State Highway 41. Less than two miles (3.2 km) later, the freeway enters the city of Chanhassen, where it has two interchanges and passes by several lakes. U.S. 212 then crosses into Hennepin County and into the city of Eden Prairie. U.S. 212 is joined by State Highway 5 in Eden Prairie for about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) as they travel eastward. The overlap with Highway 5 ends at the cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 494. At the boundary between Eden Prairie and Edina, U.S. 212 is paralleled by State Highway 62 and the two routes have a junction with U.S. Highway 169. U.S. Highway 212 officially ends at the eastern limit of this interchange in Edina, where eastbound U.S. 212 merges into eastbound Highway 62. Highway 62 continues the roadway into the city of Minneapolis.[1][4]


Auto trails[edit]

Most of the route of present-day U.S. Highway 212 between Montevideo and Norwood Young America was originally designated as part of the transcontinental auto trail known as the Yellowstone Trail, which was conceived in 1912. The Yellowstone Trail stretched from Seattle, Washington, via Yellowstone National Park, to Plymouth, Massachusetts.[11][12][13] The auto trail route in Minnesota was officially recognized by the Minnesota Highway Department in 1917.[14] East of Norwood Young America, the Yellowstone Trail utilized State Highway 5, shifting to Excelsior Boulevard via the Minnewashta Parkway to reach Minneapolis. West of Montevideo, the Yellowstone Trail used present day State Highway 7 to U.S. Highway 12.[12]

The westernmost section of present-day U.S. 212, from the South Dakota line to Montevideo, was also part of another auto trail known as the Short Cut West Highway. This auto trail went on a direct route between Minneapolis and Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone Trail also connects Minneapolis with Yellowstone National Park but travels a longer, more circuitous route through many populated centers. Between Montevideo and the Twin Cities area, the Short Cut West Highway ran along State Highway 7 until Lake Minnewashta, where it ended at the Yellowstone Trail.[13][15]

Designation as a U.S. Highway[edit]

In 1926, the U.S. Highway system was implemented in the country. U.S. 212 was originally designated as a route that connected U.S. 85 in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, with U.S. 12 in Willmar, Minnesota. In 1934, U.S. 212 was extended east to Saint Paul along mostly its modern alignment. In the Twin Cities area, U.S. 212 utilized Flying Cloud Drive and Vernon Avenue to reach Excelsior Boulevard. It then followed Lake Street through Minneapolis, crossing the Mississippi River into Saint Paul and becoming Marshall Avenue, finally ending at then U.S. 12 in downtown Saint Paul. In 1983, U.S. 212 was truncated to end at U.S. Highway 169 in Edina, resulting in U.S. 212 no longer connecting to U.S. 12, its parent route.[16]


The paving of U.S. 212 in Minnesota began in 1928 and the route was completely paved by 1940. The earliest sections to be paved were the roads east of State Highway 15, which was paved by 1929. The portion of the route in Renville County was paved by 1931, while the portion between U.S. Highway 75 and Granite Falls was paved between 1932 and 1934. The portion west of U.S. Highway 75 had originally been a county road and was only added to the state highway system in 1934. Paving of this section was finished in 1938. The portion that overlapped with State Highway 5 was paved by 1940.[17]

Over the next few decades, several sections of the road were reconstructed as four-lanes divided highways. The four-lane road between Glencoe and Norwood Young America was completed in 1959. The expressway approach in the vicinity of I-494 was completed by 1971. Several other segments were reconstructed in 1990, namely the old Flying Cloud Drive alignment, which became a four-lane divided surface arterial, and the State Highway 5 overlap, which became an expressway.[17]

The section of the route between Glencoe and Chaska currently alternates between a 65 mph four-lane expressway and a 55 mph two-lane roadway. A four-way stop sign in Glencoe is located within the 65 mph expressway segment of the route. Counties and cities along Highway 212 are lobbying to extend the four-lane divided highway west of Glencoe. MnDOT is considering the proposal.[18]

From Hector to State Highway 22 near Glencoe, the route is planned to be reconstructed with passing lanes beginning in 2009.[19]

Highway 312[edit]

Between Eden Prairie and Chaska, U.S. Highway 212 was relocated in July 2008 to a new, more northerly, 12-mile (19 km) freeway alignment.[20][21] During planning and construction, the new freeway was given the temporary designation of Highway 312.[22]

On April 29, 2002, former U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta was in the Twin Cities for an announcement regarding transportation in Minnesota. Mineta presented a $2.9 million check (Federal Highway Administration grant) to state transportation officials. The $2.9 million is part of the $238 million funding for the new 12-mile (19 km) freeway alignment of U.S. Highway 212 in Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, and Chaska. The groundbreaking celebration on August 20, 2005, was held in Chaska. Elected officials at the ceremony included former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman, former U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy, U.S. Rep. John Kline, former U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad and Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau. Lieutenant Governor and Transportation Commissioner Molnau said that "When the Legislature approved the $900 million Transportation Finance Bill secured by the Pawlenty Administration during 2003, we were able to advance Highway 212 as a 'design-build' project by eight years from its originally scheduled start between 2010 and 2015."

On December 7, 2007, a six-mile (10 km) portion of the project from Dell Road in Eden Prairie to State Highway 41 in Chaska opened to traffic, giving drivers use of about half of the new freeway alignment. It was signed using its temporary designation of State Highway 312.[21][23][24] On July 14, 2008, the remaining portion of the project from Highway 41 to just west of Carver opened to traffic.[25] The new freeway has a designated shoulder on both sides for a planned Bus Rapid Transit route extending from Carver, MN to points eastward along the freeway.[25]

Soon after the completion of Highway 312, the 312 route number was retired and Highway 212 was relocated onto the new freeway. The former surface alignment of Highway 212 along Flying Cloud Drive was turned back to the maintenance of Carver and Hennepin counties as County Road 61.[16]

Major intersections[edit]

All exits are unnumbered.

County Location mi[1] km Destinations Notes
Lac qui Parle 0.000 0.000 US 212 Continuation into South Dakota
12.545 20.189 US 75
26.060 41.940 MN 275 south Northern terminus of MN 275
32.083 51.633 US 59 south Western end of US 59 concurrency
Chippewa Montevideo 35.733 57.507 US 59 / MN 29 north to MN 7 Southern terminus of MN 29, eastern end of US 59 concurrency
Yellow Medicine 47.871 77.041 MN 67 west Western end of MN 67 concurrency
Granite Falls 49.062 78.958 MN 23 south / MN 67 east Western end of MN 23 concurrency, eastern end of concurrency with MN 67
county line
52.284 84.143 MN 23 north Eastern end of MN 23 concurrency
Renville Olivia 74.611 120.075 US 71 north Western end of US 71 concurrency
76.680 123.404 US 71 south Eastern end of US 71 concurrency
Hector 90.926 146.331 MN 4
McLeod 108.076 173.931 MN 15
116.286 187.144 MN 22 south Western end of MN 22 concurrency
Glencoe 119.481 192.286 MN 22 north Eastern end of MN 22 concurrency
Carver 128.320 206.511 MN 5 / MN 25 south Western end of MN 5/MN 25 concurrency
Norwood Young America 130.627 210.224 MN 5 / MN 25 north Eastern end of MN 5/MN 25 concurrency
Cologne 138.296 222.566 MN 284 north Southern terminus of MN 284
145.000 233.355 Begin freeway
Chaska 145.210 233.693 CSAH 11 (Jonathan Carver Parkway)
147.570 237.491 CSAH 10 (Engler Boulevard)
148.921 239.665 MN 41 (Chestnut Street)
Chanhassen 151.832 244.350 CSAH 17 (Powers Boulevard)
152.801 245.909 CSAH 101 Former MN 101 (commissioned until 2013)
Hennepin Eden Prairie 154.531 248.694 Dell Road
155.474 250.211 CSAH 4 (Eden Prairie Road)
156.613 252.044 Wallace Road Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
157.142 252.896 MN 5 west Western end of MN 5 concurrency; westbound exit and eastbound entrance
CSAH 60 (Mitchell Road) Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
157.955 254.204 Prairie Center Drive
158.674 255.361 I-494 / MN 5 east Eastern end of MN 5 concurrency; I-494 exits 11B-C
I-494 north I-494 exits 11B-C
159.174 256.166 CSAH 39 west (Valley View Road) / CSAH 61 south Western end of CSAH 61 concurrency
160.334 258.033 CSAH 61 north (Shady Oak Road) Eastern end of CSAH 61 concurrency
Eden PrairieEdina line 161.298 259.584 US 169 / Gleason Road Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; access via MN 62
Edina 161.787 260.371 MN 62 east National eastern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b c "MnDOT Trunk Highway Log Point Files". Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Federal Writers' Project, Minnesota: A State Guide, (U.S. History Publishers, 1954). Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "USGS Topographic maps via ACME Mapper". Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Official Minnesota State Highway Map (2008) - Twin Cities Metro Area
  5. ^ "Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 161, Section 14, Subdivision 30". Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "§161.114(2)". Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "§§161.115(86), (118), and (191)". Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  8. ^ Google (June 8, 2009). "South Dakota line to Granite Falls" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved June 8, 2009. 
  9. ^ Google (June 8, 2009). "Granite Falls to Glencoe" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved June 8, 2009. 
  10. ^ Google (June 8, 2009). "Glencoe to Dahlgren" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved June 8, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Yellowstone Trail Association – History". Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Yellowstone Trail Association – Minnesota routing". Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "Steve Riner - Historic Motor Trails in Minnesota". Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  14. ^ Minnesota Highway Department Trail Certification
  15. ^ Dave Schul - National Auto Trails
  16. ^ a b "Steve Riner, Unofficial Minnesota Highways Page, US-212". Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  17. ^ a b MnDOT Construction Project logs (See control sections 3705, 3706, 8713, 1212, 8712, 1211, 6510, 6511, 6512, 309, 4310, 1012, 1013, 2744, 2745, 2701)
  18. ^ "Preliminary Study". Highway 212. Minnesota Department of Transportation. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  19. ^ "MnDOT Highway 212 Corridor Plan". Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  20. ^ Blake, Laurie (2007-11-22). "New chunk of Highway 212 spurs quest for more". Star Tribune. Chris Harte. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  21. ^ a b Harlow, Tim (2007-12-10). "Six-mile stretch of Highway 212 opens". Star Tribune. Chris Harte. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  22. ^ "Steve Riner, Unofficial Minnesota Highways Page, MN-312". Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  23. ^ "New Highway 212 opens between Dell Road and Highway 41 on December 8" (PDF) (Press release). Minnesota Department of Transportation. 2008-11-28. Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  24. ^ "Minneapolis Star Tribune article – December 10, 2007 – "Six-mile stretch of Highway 212 opens"". Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  25. ^ a b "Opening of final segment of new Highway 212 to be celebrated July 1" (Press release). Minnesota Department of Transportation. 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata

U.S. Route 212
Previous state:
South Dakota
Minnesota Next state: